The recently approved monoclonal antibody, nirsevimab, provides highly effective protection against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants, with an efficacy rate of 75%. The question arises: Should nirsevimab be administered before discharge from the nursery, or should infants come back during the first few weeks of life to receive the antibody?
Dr. Flor M. Munoz explains that administering nirsevimab as early as possible is beneficial, both in terms of the respiratory season and the age of the baby. Administering the antibody before leaving the hospital provides protection when RSV season is about to start or has already begun. However, the challenge lies in accurately identifying when RSV season starts. Local data or data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help pediatricians determine the onset of RSV season in their area.
For babies born in October or later, it is recommended to administer nirsevimab before leaving the hospital. However, for babies born earlier in the year, waiting a couple of months to receive the antibody may be more beneficial, as it ensures protection throughout the RSV season.
Similar to the decision-making process for palivizumab in preterm babies, pediatricians need to be aware of the start of RSV season and consider the timing of administering the antibody. While monthly administrations were required for palivizumab, nirsevimab offers protection with a single dose. Effective communication between hospitals and pediatricians is crucial for ensuring timely administration of the antibody.
Pediatricians should also consider the opportunity to administer nirsevimab during well-baby visits within the first 2 weeks of life, as it aligns with their usual practice of monitoring infant health and growth during this period.
In conclusion, administering nirsevimab before discharge or during the first few weeks of life, depending on the timing of RSV season, can provide optimal protection against RSV in infants. Close collaboration between hospitals and pediatricians is essential to ensure the timely administration of this monoclonal antibody.
– Dr. Flor M. Munoz, MD, MSc
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
– American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)